Fashion honours at the Oscars is always an open field – everyone has access to stylists and designers, and nobody is constrained by a dress code other than ‘Look Fabulous’.
This year’s red carpet saw classic Hollywood glamour, structural bold silhouettes and colours, a thick drift of pale dresses and, as always, some looks which clunked their way straight to worst dressed lists.
In 2018, elegant simplicity rocked – Helen Mirren and Allison Janney were among the stars in perfect long sleeved sheaths – and gimmicks were few and far between.
The unknown who knocked it out of the park? Margot Robbie’s mother Sarie Kessler, a Gold Coast physiotherapist.
While best actress nominee Robbie failed to inspire in her dated, vaguely bridal Chanel with twee plastic handbag, her date’s look was unexpected and edgy.
According to People magazine, there was one moment of surprise excitement with Robbie’s dress – one of the straps snapped after she walked the carpet.
She asked an assistant for a sewing kit, then mended the dress herself.
“Oh, ain’t got time for that!” Robbie said of her wardrobe malfunction.
Lupita Nyong’o: Anyone else would have looked like a Glomesh bag crossed with a beauty pageant winner courtesy of the weird sash detail, but Nyong’o made slinky metallics freshly sexy and desirable.
Jennifer Garner: The Oscars presenter slayed in cobalt blue Grecian-inpsired Atelier Versace gown that was powerful rather than girlie, with hair just undone enough and winking Piaget jewellery. All class.
Eiza Gonzalez: The Baby Driver star’s 1970s-inspired halter column was a lesson in less is more. Anyone wearing so much as a decorative belt would have been gnashing their teeth in jealous admiration.
Zendaya: Shut the door. The singer and actress (The Greatest Showman) combined power and femininity in one dreamy dress, managing to make brown and draped instantly beyond fashionable.
Laura Dern: This is how to do grown-up dressing: no gimmicks, no slit skirts or tricky silhouettes, just one headturning ivory pencil of a look that yelled confident, unfussy glamour. The only kind, after all.
Saoirse Ronan: More divine understatement. The shell pink shade in shoes and dress. Body skimming, not hugging. The giant bow wrapping it all up. Expensive, minimal accessories. With pale skin. Everything.
Greta Gerwig: Resistance to fluffy ‘look at me’ embellishments and attention to an unexpectedly extravagant fabric, sunshine colour, and crimson bow lip. Great lesson in small details, big picture.
Meryl Streep: The genius here is in the colour. No tasteful nudes or monochromes for this star. And the curated style – floor-length, A-line, sleeves – made fabulous with its plunging neckline.
Nicole Kidman: There’s a lot going on – mega bow, mermaid train, front split, boned bodice, wrong shoes – but somehow the actress looked sleek and polished in a true leading lady way. And that colour … bingo.
Gal Gadot: The Wonder Woman star’s flapper dress was supremely fun, elevated with the risky showstopper Tiffany & Co neckpiece made from 17 aquamarines and over 1000 diamonds. Because, Oscars.
Whoopi Goldberg: It’s as if Whoopi was rummaging in the dress up box from a down-on-its-luck medieval pantomime then decided to get a boss hairdo to modernise it. Having said that, we love a strong look.
St Vincent: Striking details – the killer headpiece, velvet and puffy asymmetrical shoulder – but no escaping it looks like a bodysuit with the crotch unsnapped. Fine for a well-mannered burlesque show.
Salma Hayek: Woah. Did the actress come fresh from a stint playing honky-tonk piano at an 1830s prairie saloon? Matronly colour, girlish structure and inexplicable neckpiece topped by disspiriting hair.
Emily Blunt: Points for aiming for whimsy, but Blunt’s fussy dress was too princessy and self-conscious, with echoes of every bridesmaid dress you’ve ever been terrified of. Looks like fairyfloss tastes.
Maya Rudolph: There’s a punchline in here somewhere … something about an actress who wanted to be classy and not flash the flesh, so decided to go as a Vatican guard (including forbidding expression).
Andra Day: Somewhere, a stylist is laughing their head off and a giant window is wondering why so much light is streaming in. Possibly Day was auditioning for a place in Goldberg’s Renaissance troupe.
Tiffany Haddish: Yes, the authentic Eritrean regal look was a nod to a wish from her late father, but the bottom line for the Girls’ Trip star is the Oscars is an awards ceremony. Not a costume party.
Abbie Cornish: Holy moly. This is what happens when a modern star is inspired to dress like a suburban mother-of-the-bride or an extra from the fancy restaurant scenes in the upper decks on Titanic.
Emma Stone: So, Stone was obviously trying to dial it back a bit, not go all out in the feminist year of MeToo, but she went overboard. Expensive, yes, but ill-fitting, much too casual and a tiny bit dull.
Ashley Judd: The singer and actress wore the sort of dress you would flick right over if you were rummaging the back room sale rack at a formal store, thinking it was a second from someone’s Year 11 dance.
All photos courtesy of Getty Images.